“Hello?”  I answered my phone, expecting to hear my sister’s voice.

“Aunt Jennie?”  Instead it was a small voice on the other end.  “We think you sent these packages to us.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Because it was Dog Man 3 and you said you would get it for me,”  my nephew replied.

“Well, you’re right.  I sent it.”

“Thank you!”

“And you sent me an Elephant book!”  his brother yelled in the background.

“Yep!  I love Elephant and Piggie!”  I responded.

I sent them each a book from Amazon without a note and without telling their mom.  But, my older nephew knew exactly who had sent it.

I love getting books in the mail!  The only thing better?  Getting this phone call after sending books in the mail!  #makingreaders

Very Important Information

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hello?”  I answered.

“Hey, your nephew needs to tell you something.”

“OK?”  I could hear my sister passing the phone and telling Brady that Aunt Jennie is on the phone.

“Hi!?  Brady?”

“I saw… I saw Dominoes!”  Brady shouted into the phone.

“You saw Dominoes?”  I asked to clarify.


So, he saw Dominoes – the pizza place.  Yep, that simple.  But he was excited and wanted to tell me.  The little things…

Cousin Time



“I’ll push you!”  Brady says, jumping off his own swing to go behind Troy.

“OK?”  Troy responds, doubtful of how this is going to work.

He “pushes” and Troy starts to move, in large part because Troy is making it happen with his feet.  The swing and the much larger child start gaining some momentum.  Unfortunately, Brady’s timing is a little off…and…Whack! Brady goes flying backward into the wood chips.

We all laughed and Brady picked himself up out of the chips. No big deal for this kid. But it did change his focus a bit…

“I’ll throw this at you,”  Brady says with a mischievous smile, gathering dirt and wood chips in this hands…

Where do the pencils belong?


I carried my almost four year old nephew as we walked out of his brother’s jujitsu practice.

“Why do you have crayons in your ears?”

“They’re pencils.”

“Oh…They don’t belong on your ear. They belong on paper.”

Hmm…Don’t know what to say to that one…I guess you’re right?  Good thing he wasn’t looking for a response, he was too busy shouting goodbye to all the other kids!

Virtual Vision Board



Troy is the most amazing child I have ever met.   I realize that I am biased, but he is special.  I need to remember that regardless of all of the mistakes I have made and will continue to make, he is a good kid.  I want to continue to encourage him to be himself: that creative, unique boy, mismatched socks and all.

A Library!  I want a library in my house!  It needs to have lots of high shelves, filled with books.  And a ladder!  A sliding ladder!  I will have one of these one day!

“I love crazy!”  Do you know where this is from? Frozen.   Toward the end of the school year my co-teacher and I were listening to Disney Pandora when I heard this line.  Immediately I said, “That is what I we need! Well…we each need separate guys that like our kind of crazy.”  (or something like that) And so, I will settle for nothing less than someone who loves my kind of crazy!

OPEN is my One Little Word for 2016.  If you don’t know about this idea, I would suggest looking into it.   It has honestly changed me much more than any resolution I have ever made.


If you are a teacher, you know why this is part of my virtual vision board.  Standing up for what you think is best for the kids isn’t easy, but I can’t stop questioning.

“Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt!”  I think I’ve got this one covered and, coincidentally, I just got confirmation this weekend.  I was at my grandparents house and so was my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews.  I got up to get something to drink from inside and my four year old nephew took my seat.  So, of course I made a big deal of it, sat next to the chair, and stuck my feet (my bare, stinky, dirty feet) in his face.  He looked at me and said, “You’re weird!”  SCORE!

Use Your Words:  I just finished this book yesterday and it has been so motivational and though provoking.  It is a symbol to keep writing, make time for it.  More posts about this are in progress!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

“Keep on believing.”


What do you see?

20160330_111522We spent the day at Brookfield Zoo with my sister, mom, and two nephews.  It amazes me how everyone sees the world differently.  The same moment, the same view, provokes different thoughts in each person experiencing it.

My four year old nephew focuses on the facts about the animal:  Look at it walking!  Where do they live?  What do they eat?

My son goes strait for the narrative:  The giraffe looks like it’s talking to the tree.  “Hello Mr. Tree.  What is my future, Tree?”

My mind is thinking two things at once.  I see the giraffe and feel guilty. Guilty that I can roam the world and she is stuck inside this fence.  Simultaneously, I am listening to these two beautiful, very different boys voice their thoughts.  I am enjoying this moment, despite my guilt.  I am lucky to have these boys in my life.

“I’m your mommy!”

Yet another conversation between cousins with a six year age difference…


They sat at Ma’s kitchen table, playing with dinosaurs and blocks.

“I’m your mommy!  I’m your mommy!” the four year old repeated, getting increasing louder and screechier.

Finally, unable to ignore him any longer, the ten year old says, “We’re actually two different species of dinosaur.”

“I’m your mommy!”